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How two women trick a husband into buying a new kitchen.
This movie is part of the collection: Prelinger Archives
Producer: Telamerica, Inc.
Sponsor: American Gas Association, National Association of Home Builders, and The Woman's Home Companion
Audio/Visual: Sd, C
Keywords: Consumerism; Gender roles
Creative Commons license: Public Domain
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Tru Leigh -
Now I know how Darren McGavin got the role in "A Christmas Story".
Subject: Fun to watch
"Word to the Wives" was fun to watch. Lifestyles have changed a great deal since that era. Of course a kitchen like that must have been very expensive to have, but many people of the 1950's hoped that someday they could achieve such affleunce.
Subject: Missing Janet Riley
Janet Riley is one of the most talented actresses to ever work on Broadway. She opted for a family life after magnificent performances on The Moon is Blue and The Tender Trap. It is a delight to have this visual memory of her elegance and beauty, although the clip certainly does not show the range her histrionic talent.
Subject: Hottest Housewife of the 50's!
When I read "Marsha Hunt" I couldn't get this video fast enough! I first saw her in 1959's 'Blue Denim' and immediately fell in love with her. She's been in over 100 movies. from the 1930's to 2006. In my opinion, one of the most beautiful women ever.
Thank you, Mr. Prelinger, for adding this bit of ephemera to the world.
Subject: Interesting, if not stereotypical
Typical, the wife -- who has no job -- assumes the money grows on trees for new appliances and anything else she wants. She should be lucky she has a roof over her head and the means she has now to chill or cook food. Lucky for her George is a good husband, otherwise she would've been punished big time.
Talk about 1950s stereotypes! So Jane wants to have a modern kitchen just like her friend does, in order to have more time to go shopping (Gods forbid they use the extra time to, say, take some college courses? Get a career?).
You also have the stereotypical bumbling husband (played by Darren McGavin of 'A Christmas Story') who is clueless in the kitchen (like making rice is that complicated?)
It does have good historical value, as why I gave it 5 stars...
Insanity Poop -
Subject: Anoter fine example of the 1950s mentality
A Woman's Home Companion presents A Word to the Wives
Starring Marsha Hunt, Darren McGavin, Janet Riley, and Scott McKay.
Produced by Telamerica, Inc.
Producer: Edmund M. Tate
Director: Norman Lloyd
Writer: Jerome Brondfield
Camera: William Steiner
The movie opens with an exterior shot of a 1950s home, with the following narration: "It wasn't really a plot against George Peters, but I'll admit, it might have looked that way the morning his wife Jane stopped by for coffee. We just been in our house two weeks and I was still ecstatic over everything. Especially my dream kitchen."
The two wives discuss their lives and kitchens. Jane cant go on a shopping spree to cheer herself up because she doesnt have a dream kitchen to make her life as easy as her friends. The two come up with plot to leave Janes husband George and son home for a couple of days while she watches a relative. This way, George will see just how badly she needs a new kitchen and home.
George is then left to his own devises, which is to say, not much. He boils his rice, fails to wash the dishes, and cant figure out why the cabinet refuses to open with his arm in front of it.
After two days, Jane returns to open arms and a mop. Later that evening the couple visit Janes friend for a dinner party and meet the person who built their dream home. George arranges a home of his own and the story ends happily every after.
"Well folks, I'll leave it up to you whether the gals tricked me or not. But that's another story. This new dream house is a happy ending to our story. Why don't you drop around and talk to the men who can make your dream of a new home, come true. The best and most reputable builders in your area are here to help you. They are standing by right now in the booth, sponsored by your local home builder's association to discuss plans and prices with you. Believe me, a few minutes now can lead to a whole lifetime of happiness. Happy home building."
The kitchen and laundry in this film were featured in The Woman's Home Companion.
Cabinets by Republic Steel Kitchens
Built-in automatic gas range and disposal by Caloric
Automatic washer and gas dryer by Whirlpool
Monel Duo-Temp automatic gas water heater by Ruud Mfg. Co.
Counter tops by The Formica Co.
Some memorable quotes:
"Whatever it is, Ive got just the cure for it! There's a sale at Watsons. A new hat would be an ideal tonic for you. I'm going down this afternoon for a small spree."
"Freedom from unnecessary drudgery. Freedom to go shopping when the urge hits you--or when there's a sale going on."
"Now why should you have to lay out everything all nice and ready for George and Jimmy, down to the last egg and can of salmon."
"Automatic flour dispenser. Very handy. Let me show you how it works."
Subject: Waaa waa waaaaaaaaa....
A young houswife shows off her curiously looking kitchen (watch those shades!) to a Nicole Kidman look-a-like named Jane Peters. Her friend loves her new kitchen, and Jane is envious of it. Instead of killing her, Jane and her friend think of the novel idea of leaving her husband and her son alone to fend for themselves and realize what a new kitchen would do for them. The husband of course, can't cook, and is prone to amusing pratfalls. The husband in this piece overacts broadly just to get some yuks from the men in the audiece no douvt, while the women cluck their tongues in agreement. Soon afterwards, the husbands all agree that a new kitchen will be just what the house needs! What, will he learn how cook all of a sudden?? Very curious..
Subject: that's the guy from a christmas story
The goofy, easily frustrated husband is the same guy from the movie A Christmas Story: Darren McGavin (I think) if nothing else this is fun to watch and realize it is him and virtually the same character.
Anyways, this is really one that shows the stereotypical stupid-around-the-kitchen man.
Subject: Oh George!
Was it just me, or did George seem downright homicidal after his wife left. I was especially frightened when junior decided to hand the hammer over to his father. This film was real keen though. So keen that it almost seems indecent.
Subject: Longing for the Fifties Dream House
In A Word to the Wives (sponsored by America's Homebuilders), housewife Jane Peters visits a friend in her new ranch house and complains about her "nightmare" kitchen. Her friend has a gleaming new ÂdreamÂ kitchen with steel cabinets and an automatic flour dispenser. She suggests that Jane "trick" her husband into buying her a new house: go visit her mother in Cleveland and leave hubby and son to fend for themselves. Disaster ensues when JaneÂs husband George tries to cook himself and his son dinner. He's so incompetent he can't even open the kitchen cabinets by himself. When the Peters go the to their friendÂs new house for a housewarming party, the hostess prepares a delicious dinner typical of the 1950sÂbaked ham with grape jelly and mustard dressing and a sweet potato casserole with pineapple and marshmallows. George is sold! He buys Jane a new house. Now Jane has time to indulge in the only activities this film could imagine for women outside of housework and child-raising: shopping and playing golf. Ironically, the ÂoldÂ (circa 1920s) house that Jane is so anxious to move out of is what today would be considered a beautiful vintage home, while the new split level house they move into looks nondescript and drab. For all its crassness, thereÂs still something touching about this film. The women take an innocent pleasure in all the conveniences of the ÂmodernÂ home. In her new laundry room, JaneÂs friend takes a lumpy bathmat out of the washing machine and exclaims, ÂThis setup makes any day washday!Â She puts it in the dryer and says, ÂAnd I can do my drying in any kind of weather!Â Poor Jane probably has to use a wringer washer and hang her clothes out on the clothesline to dry. Can we blame her for wanting something better for herself?
Steve Nordby -
Subject: "I'm so proud it's almost indecent of me"
Drab Jane Peters drops by for coffee with her well dressed, stylish, and over-made-up friend. Jane marvels at her wonderful new house, so they cook up a scheme to get Jane's husband to buy a new house. This 13 minute sitcom appears to have been intended to be shown at home shows to display the wonders of late 1950's "dream homes," you know, the ones with hot water and ice makers. The inept dad is played by very young Darren McGavin in a style similar to the dad he played in "A Christmas Story" in 1983.
Subject: suburbia circa 1955
the makers of this film intended it be viewed seriously. But now 50 years later, it is hopelessly outdated. With changes in family roles and income distribution, I doubt that todays audience could identify with the fictional characters ,However the film is valuble in illustrating social history,,,On another level, the film can be enjoyed as a mildly amusing comedy.. Good photography.